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Afghan girl from famous cover portrait is evacuated to Italy | Entertainment

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ROME (AP) The famous Afghan with green eyes from National Geographic magazine arrived in Italy as part of the evacuation of Afghans from the West following the takeover of the country by the Taliban, the Italian government announced Thursday.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Italy organized the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after she asked for help to leave the country. The Italian government will now help his integration into life in Italy, according to the statement.

Gulla gained international fame in 1984 as an Afghan refugee, after war photographer Steve McCurrys’ photograph of her, with piercing green eyes, was published on the cover of National Geographic. McCurry found her in 2002.

In 2014, she surfaced in Pakistan but went into hiding when authorities accused her of purchasing a fake Pakistani ID card and ordered her deportation. She was flown to Kabul where the president hosted a reception for her at the presidential palace and handed her the keys to a new apartment.

Italy was one of many Western countries that airlifted hundreds of Afghans out of the country after US forces left and the Taliban took control in August.

In a statement announcing Gullas ‘arrival in Rome, Draghis’ office said his photograph had become a symbol of the vicissitudes and chapter of history conflict that Afghanistan and its people were going through at the time.

He said he had received requests from members of civil society, and in particular non-profit organizations working in Afghanistan, supporting Gulla’s call for help in leaving the country.

Italy has organized its trip to Italy as part of the larger evacuation program in place for Afghan citizens and governments are planning their reception and integration, according to the statement.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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